The ‘New Normal’ on Our Motorhome Ski Adventure

LPG refillable bottles

We can’t work out if it feels like a long time since we left the UK or just yesterday. Whichever it is, we now have an entirely new normal.

We’ve set an alarm 3 times since we left – once on the morning of departure, and twice last week. This doesn’t seem noteworthy apart from realising that we now only set our alarms when something exciting is going to happen. Leaving the UK for an epic 6 month motorhome ski adventure could probably be classed as exciting, and catching the first lifts on bluebird days … that’s another reason to get up before the sun.

Probably for the last 20 years, the number of times either of us had set an alarm clock for something other than work or the odd early morning flight, could be totted up on the fingers of one hand.

This new alarm system is much more satisfactory.

What else is part of the new normal motorhome-ski-van-life?

Cooperation of a new kind. There’s a level of symbiosis that’s required for motorhome living. For example, picking out clean pants for James and sticking them under the duvet to warm up before he puts them on in the morning; James hanging out of the roof at -10°C wiggling our WiFi booster whilst I shout unhelpful instructions; or the twice weekly event of an argument between martyrs as to who will empty the toilet cassette …

The space in this motorhome is big and open – more open in fact that most land yachts you’ll see anywhere. However, you still have to operate a level of patience in terms of moving around that you will only be familiar with if you’ve been drunk in a toilet cubical with another drunk person… that’s what it’s like much of the time. This is motorhome ski life.

Complaining, incessantly.

This is probably a topic for an entire blog but goodness knows we whinge and whine constantly. It’s a disease. If it’s not me freaking out about WiFi and making us move around an aire until our signal is at full pelt or James hating himself for being completely incapable of finding anything … (again, an entire blog topic on it’s own) we’re complaining about other people. Other people parking wonky, other people driving like idiots, other people breathing … and then there are the nicknames. PantyMcPants just walked past the motorhome after a morning downhill training. How PantyMcPants acquired this name I have no idea but it doesn’t even raise a smirk anymore as we casually observe his daily movements.

We try to counterbalance this complaining by marvelling at our surroundings and I genuinely believe that we are getting a far better deal than anyone in a 5* chalet. Yet again we have the best spot in Alpe d’Huez with unbridled mountain views (not something any other establishment can boast) and are sharing it with weird and wonderful people. As well as PantyMcPants and QuadDouche (on account of James being acutely envious of his toy), we have BigDogMan and GreyDogMan and ThatsNotARealDogMan and GreyVanMan….. you can see how imaginatively we are gifting these nicknames. Today we had the arrival of TrolleyWally – a perfectly lovely French chap who we dislike intensely because he had the foresight to bring a trolley for his water bowser and we didn’t.

alpe d'huez winterized aire

…and then there’s the matter of personal hygiene

The classic 1940’s Sunday bath day has been reintroduced after an 80 year absence. Why you may ask – we have a pimp shower and water heater…. ‘running, flushing and hot’ as it’s known in the #vanlife world. We are the source of much envy. The truthful answer is we can’t be bothered.

In fact, I think James has gone to the 40’s and seem to think we’re on wartime rations of everything from LPG to #tartiflette and goes into some sort of heightened state of panic if either looks like it might run out in the next three months. That or he’s turning into his Dad.


Gobby, opinionated, professional ski bum. Co-founder of the Winterised Project.

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